AUBURN — A major furniture purchase by the DeKalb County Commissioners turns out to not be final, after all.
Last week, the commissioners chose Workspace Solutions of Fort Wayne to provide $135,200 worth of furnishings for the new Community Corrections center west of Auburn. They said that was the lower of two price quotes, selecting it over a quote from Bassett Office Supply of Auburn.
Aug. 5, commissioners rescinded the purchase, citing two key problems:
• the county sought only two price quotes, instead of three as required by law;
• the price quotes were not comparable, because Bassett’s quote included $21,103 for filing room furnishings that were not in the Workspace Solutions quote.
The county now will ask the project’s architect, Elevatus of Fort Wayne, to develop consistent standards for the furniture quotes. Suppliers then can resubmit their prices.
“We do have to send invitations to at least three vendors” to submit price quotes, said the commissioners’ attorney, James McCanna.
Commissioners President Don Grogg said they will recommend inviting four quotes.
Because the price is expected to be below $150,000, the county does not have to use a formal process of advertising for bids.
Dave Bassett of Bassett Office Supply attended Monday’s meeting to express his concerns, but by the time he arrived, the commissioners already had rescinded the purchasing decision.
Bassett asked the commissioners to take into consideration that his furniture supplier uses steel from Heidtman Steel, which originates from Steel Dynamics. Both companies have plants in rural Butler.
In their previous purchasing decision, commissioners had deleted furnishings for a conference room from the order. Aug. 5, Community Corrections Executive Director Kellie Knauer asked the three commissioners to reconsider.
“It’s really, really important to what we do, and losing it will negatively affect our ability to function,” Knauer said about the conference room at the new center.
Construction of the corrections center should be complete “Octoberish,” Knauer said. After that, she said, its staff will need 6-8 weeks of training.
Realistically, no inmates will be in the building until at least the start of 2020, Knauer said. The center is designed to house up to 52 inmates in its work-release program.